(brioche with prune filling)


Makes one large braided loaf


The lovely yellow-white braids of Brioche aux Pruneaux are wrapped around lengths of soft prune puree.  The result is not only delicious but it is dramatic when cut – the black prune core contrasting with the brioche.


Brioche aux Pruneaux is a different coffee cake-style bread.   It goes well with coffee, tea, or a glass of wine.


I found the brioche (and its recipe) on a bicycle trip through France at a small boulangerie at the junction of three country roads near Villesavin, a seldom-visited

chateau near Bracieux.





               36     medium           prunes, preferably pitted

           1 1/2     pounds            Brioche Dough, chilled (see below)

                 1     large                egg, beaten, mixed with 1 Tablespoon milk




                        1 baking sheet (to fit the oven), greased or Teflon




Overnight        The day before baking place the prunes in a medium

                        bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Leave to

                        cool overnight.


                        When cooled, seed the prunes if they are not pitted. 

                        Put the prunes through the medium blade of a grinder,

                        food mill, or blender.  Reserve the puree.



Rest                Remove the dough from the refrigerator 20 minutes before

20 mins.          the braids are to be shaped to allow it to soften




Shaping           Roll the douogh and stretch it with your fingers into a

30 mins.          rectangel 20” to 28” long and about 10” wide.  The dough

                        should be about 1/4” thick.  Allow the dough to relax for

                        5 minutes before further shaping or the dough will pull

                        back when cut.


                        The prune filling will be wrapped in the dough before the

                        dough is cut from the larger piece; place a line of prune

                        filling (about 3 Tablespoons) across the width of the

                        dough, leaving a 1” margin at the bottom and 1/2” on

                        either side.  Carefully lift the bottom edge over the

                        filling and press into the dough on the other side.  Roll

                        the dough so there will be a 1" overlap.  Cut off the

                        rolled piece with a knife or pastry cutter.  Pinch the

                        seam and ends tightly.


                        Roll the length of dough gently back and forth to shape

                        a strand.  Leave with the seam down while proceeding with

                        the other 2 braids.


                        When the 3 strands are completed, lay parallel, with

                        seams down.  Braid from the center.  Turn the braids

                        around and finish from the middle.  Don’t tighten the

                        braids as you work them.  They need freedom when they

                        rise.  Pinch the ends of the braids together.  Place on

                        the baking sheet.



RISING            Cover with wax paper and leave at room temperature for 30

30 mins.          minutes.


                        (If the dough has been made with a new fast-rising years,

                        20 minutes will be long enough.)



PREHEAT       Preheat the oven to 400° F 20 minutes before baking.



BAKING           Brush the loaf with the egg-milk glaze.

400° F            

25 mins.          Place the brioche in the oven for about 25 minutes. 

                        Watch carefully during the last 10 minutes of baking

                        – if the loaf browns too rapidly, cover with foil or

                        brown sack paper.  The braid is fragile when hot, so

                        don’t turn it over to check for doneness.  If the braids

                        are a deep brown and strands feel solid under you finger,

                        the loaf is done.


                        (If using a convection oven, reduce heat by 50°.)



FINAL STEP    Allow the braid to cool on the baking sheet for 15

                        minutes before transferring to a metal rack.  Handle

                        with care while warm, as it is fragile.







Makes 3 pounds.


This recipe is for the traditional French broiche, with one exception – it does not begin with a separate starter.  Some may find mixing all of the ingredients together at one time more attractive than two stages.  Plus this method does offer the opportunity to make it the old-fashioned way – by hand, crashing it down into the bowl.




                 5     cups                all-purpose flour (approximately)

                 1     package          dry yeast

              1/2     cup                  nonfat dry milk

                 1     Tablespoon     sugar

                 2     teaspoons       salt

                 1     cup                  hot water (120°-130° F)

                 1     cup                  butter, room temperature (2 sticks)

                 5     large                eggs, room temperature



BY HAND        Into a large mixing or mixer bowl pour 2 cups flour,

OR MIXER      the dry ingredients, and hot water.  Beat in the mixer

15 mins.          For 2 minutes at medium speed, or for an equal length

                        of time with a large wooden spoon or spatula.  Add the

                        butter and continue beating for 1 minute.


                        Add the eggs, one at a time, and the remaining flour,

                        1/2 cup at a time, beating thoroughly with each



                        The dough will be soft and sticky, and it must be

                        beaten until it is shiny, elastic, and pulls from your




KNEADING      If by hand, grab the dough in one hand, steadying the

10-20 mins.     bowl with the other, and pull a large handful of it out

                        of the bowl, about 14” aloft, and throw it back – with

                        considerable force.  Continue pulling and slapping back

                        the dough for about 18 to 20 minutes.  Don’t dispair. 

                        It is sticky.  It is a mess.  But it will slowly begin

                        stretch and pull away as you work it.


                        A heavy-duty mixer, at medium speed, can do this in

                        about 10 minutes.  The flat beater is better than a

                        dough hook for this kneading.



RISING            Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in a warm

                        place (80° to 85° F) until the dough has doubled in

                        volume, about 2 to 3 hours.


                        (If prepared with a new fast-rising yeast and at the

                        recommended higher temperature, reduce the rising time

                        by approximately half.)



4 hours or        Stir down the dough (and add other ingredients, such as

overnight         cheese, nuts or fruit, if wanted).  Place the covered

                        bowl in the refrigerator.  The rich dough must be

                        thoroughly chilled before it can be shaped, 4 hours or




Source:           Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads, 1987.